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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Custom MP38   Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:00 pm

Custom MP38 Review






History


The M.P. 38 submachine gun started its life under requirements from German Heereswaffenamt (HWA, Army Weapons Office), which saw the need for a compact submachine gun, suitable for use by armoured vehicles crews and paratroopers. German arms-making company Erfurter Maschinenfabrik Gmbh,better known under its trade name Erma, began the development of a new weapon under HWA specifications. It must be noted that a new submachine gun was not built from the scratch; instead, it was just an evolution of a rarely known prototype weapon, provisionally known as Erma MP-36. MP-36 was a compact version of the better known ERMA EMP submachine gun but fitted with the now-familiar underfolding metallic shoulder stock and bottom-feed magazine, which was slightly canted forward to accommodate EMP magazines.



ERMA EMP submachine gun




MP36

MP-36 was a selective-fired weapon, and in fact the improved MP-38 was a simplified version of its little known predecessor, adapted for different magazine. Therefore, it took only few months before the new weapon was ready for official adoption and mass production. Manufacture of a new submachine gun, designated as MP-38, commenced in summer of 1938, at Erma, and later on also at C.G. Haenel.

The MP38 was manufactured for just 2 years, when it was replaced in production by externally similar, but less expensive MP-40, which used more stamped parts instead of machined parts, found in MP-38. There also were minor variations in design of MP-38, such as shape of cocking handle etc. The MP38's handle is a curved hook or spoon shape , whereas the MP40 has a push in-out Knob. (see photosbelow)
The MP-40 was also produced in a number of variations, which differed in shape of certain parts; also, toward the end of the war, several production shortcuts were introduced to save the costs of manufacturing.
Probably the most interesting variation of the MP-40 were the MP-40-I and MP-40-II. These guns featured dual magazine housings which hold two magazines in a laterally sliding bracket. This increase the total ammunition capacity "in the gun" to 64 rounds, in a desperate attempt to catch up with 71-round magazine capacity of Soviet PPSh-41. The later variant, MP-40-II, was made in limited numbers, but turned out to be a failure - sliding dual-magazine housing was a constant source of jams and failures, and was very sensitive to dirt and fouling.
Nevertheless, MP-38 and especially MP-40 submachine guns were of good design,and set the pattern for so called "second generation" of submachine guns ("first generation" being represented by the wood-stocked and carefully machined MP18, MP28 and the like). The second generation weapons usually were of compact design, and made using mostly steel stampings and pressings, or castings.
It also must be noted that many MP-40 that survived the WW2, continued to serve up until late 1970s or early 1980s, in a few European armies such as Austrian or Norwegian. Examples were used in Central European conflicts (Bosnia for example) too.


Design

Both MP-38 and MP-40 submachine guns are blowback operated weapons that fire from open bolt. Both weapons were full-automatic only, but relatively slow rate of fire permitted for single shots with short trigger pulls. The proprietary bolt system with telescoped return spring guide served as a pneumatic recoil buffer,helping to decrease rate of fire to a very manageable level. The bolt handle was permanently attached to the bolt on early MP-38's; on late production MP-38's and MP-40's bolt handle was made as a separate part and also served as a safety.




Pushing the head of bolt handle inward locked the bolt either in cocked or forward position. Lack of such feature on early MP-38's resulted in field expedients such as leather harnesses with small loop, used to hold the bolt in forward position.




Safety strap fitted to a rare MP40 with curved cocking handle



MP38 painted white & fitted with Safety Strap

Photos from www.mp40.nl

One unusual feature on most MP-38 and MP-40 submachine guns was an aluminum or Bakelite rail under the barrel, which served as a barrel support /protector when firing over the board of armoured personnel carriers or other vehicles. The short handguard was made from Bakelite and was located between magazine housing and pistol grip.
The barrel lacked any heat insulation, which often caused burns for supporting hand.
Folding shoulder stock resulted for compact weapon when folded, but it was insufficiently durable for combat use and hand-to-hand combat.
Single-feed, double-row box magazines with a maximum capacity of 32 cartridges were used


MP38/40 Resting Bar


MP38/40 Folding Stock


Pre production MP38



Pneumatic Recoil Tubes & Cocking Handles


Top: MGC68 MP40- Note only Two tubes. Bottom Custom MP38 and correct use of Three tubes



MP38 Bolt & Cocking handle


MP40 Cocking Handle: (Fire position)


Safe Position


The MP 38 receiver was made of machined steel, but this was a time-consuming and expensive process. To save time and materials, and thus increase production, construction of the MP 40 receiver was simplified by using stamped steel and electro-spot welding as much as possible.
The MP 38 also features longitudinal grooving on the receiver and bolt, as well as a circular opening on the magazine housing in an effort to reduce weight. These features were eliminated on the M38/40 and MP 40.



Top: MGC MP40 Receiver Bottom: Custom MP38 Milled Receiver



MP38 Magazine Well


MGC MP40 Magazine Well



Note slot provision for Push in Safety knob fitted to MP40 Cocking Handles



References


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP38
http://www.mp40.nl/
http://world.guns.ru/smg/de/mp3-mp40-e.html



Modelgun – Custom Made and Built by Kickback:-

Several Japanese Modelgun manufacturers have produced replica MP40s. But as far as I am aware, there are only two sources, both British based, of replica MP38s.

ModelgunCollector.co.uk and Forum member Kickback offer Blank Firing and PFC cap firing models of superb quality.
Produced to order for Re-enactment use, the Blank Firing version is the one in most demand. As such, the Replicas are made from high grade steel, capable of withstanding the pressures generated by 9mm Blank Ammunition.

These are very high quality, strong safe functional replicas. Some parts, not subjected to these high pressures are taken from Marushin or MGC68 modelguns.
Grip Frames, Folding Stocks, Trigger, Sling Loop, Resting Bar and Front Sights can be safely used.

The “working” parts of the replica are made from machined steel. This amounts to a considerable amount of skilled work. Barrel, Trunnion and Chamber, Upper & Lower Receiver, Magazine Well, Ejector, Bolt and Recoil Tubes, Barrel Nut, Rear Sight, Trigger Group are all custom built and machined by Kickback and 8ace. Hopefully my photographs will convey just how skilful these two Gentlemen are.

My choice was a PFC, cap-firing model, capable of firing KSC 9mm Luger c.p. cartridges. This allowed my model to have a removable barrel, unlike British spec. Blank Firers that are welded to the Trunnion & Receiver. A custom Detonator Pin and different spec.(softer) Recoil Spring would be required also.
The end result is a hand made, unique replica which takes pride of place in my collection. Photos describe this modelgun far better than words :-










Note: Inert 9mm Luger rounds in the magazine for photographic purposes. This PFC modelgun cannot chamber these rounds.













Real MP38 for comparison



Rather than use Black grips and Foregrip/Sideplates from Marushin’s MP40, the more authentic Reddish Brown Bakelite replica set available from www.historyarms.com have been used. A replacement matching Bakelite resting bar will be fitted once it arrives.


Comparison to MGC68MP40

MGC were the only manufacturers of steel PFC MP40 Modelguns and as such, their acclaimed ’68 MP40 is a true classic. Highly collectable, desirable and as a bonus, capable of firing PFC cartridges superbly well. Rightly taking Top Position in any collectors’ Wish-List.
The MGC MP40 was one modelgun I had always wanted. It took a long time to find a good one but I was extremely happy when an example became available. It is still one of my favourite models to fire as well as just admire.
Comparisons between Kickback’s replica MP38 and MGC’s MP40 not only accurately show the differences between both versions of the real weapons, but also the differences in build quality.




Top: MGC68 MP40, Bottom Kickback’s MP38



MGC MP40s were made with steel Upper and Lower Receivers, but the Bolt, Ejector, Sear and Barrel were made of cast Zinc Alloy. The original MGC Bolt's Charging Handle is cast with the Bolt and is NOT moveable as per the genuine item.
My own MGC MP40 has one of 8ace's custom steel bolts with a functioning cocking handle/safety adapted from Marushin's ABS MP40 model

As stated earlier, the MP 38 receivers were made of machined steel, but this was a time-consuming and expensive process. To save time and materials, and thus increase production, construction of the MP 40 receiver was simplified by using stamped steel and electro-spot welding as much as possible.

Both MGC68 MP40 and Kickback’s custom MP38 illustrate these different manufacturing methods very clearly.


Top: MGC68 MP40 Upper Receiver (Stamped & Rolled Steel) Bottom: Kickback’s MP38 Upper Receiver (Machined from Steel Tube)



MGC68 MP40 Rear Upper Receiver



Custom MP38 Rear Upper Receiver




Left: Custom MP38 Lower Receiver Right: MGC68 MP40 Lower Receiver (Stamped Steel)



The custom MP38’s machined receivers are made of nominal 0.095”/0.100” (2.40mm / 2.50mm) thick steel whereas the stamped MGC68 MP40 is made of 0.050” / 0.053”
(1.27mm /1.35mm) steel.

Magazine


This model uses MGC68 MP40 magazines. The magazine well has been made to accept genuine MP40 magazines also

Cartridges and Detonator Pin

KSC 9mm Luger c.p. cartridges are relatively inexpensive and plentiful unlike the “old faithful” MGC P220 which was the cartridge of choice when a replacement or better performing c.p. cartridge was required.
Practically identical to MGC c.p. cartridges in design, KSC’s perform well.



Photo courtesey of smootik’s Cartridge Library



Detonator Pin

Loading Cartridges

KSC’s 9mm Luger cartridges are loaded in exactly the same way as MGC c.p. types.
Refer to http://mp40modelguns.forumotion.net/t924-loading-mgc-type-cartridges for instructions.


Photo courtesey of smootik’s Cartridge Library


Comments

Kickack and 8ace, both skilful and knowledgable Modelgun enthusiasts, have produced a truly outstanding Modelgun.
In the best British tradition, men working away in their garden sheds have taken on the World’s best Manufacturers and not only matched them, but surpassed them in more ways than one.

8ace‘s Steel MP40 and Kickback’s Steel MP38 Bolts





MP38 Boltface


MP38 Bolt

8ace’s Steel MP40 Bolt




MP38 Ejector

MGC MP40 Ejector




Video of the MP38 can be seen here:-


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Cerwyn

Hobby collector of Replica model guns and Militaria.
also member of Living History Reenactment Groups.


Last edited by Cerwyn on Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:43 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Video Part #1 added)
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smootik
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:41 pm

Way cool!

It will never cease to amaze me how "a bit" of ingenuity, skill, patience, tools, idea can create such interesting models!

Thanks to the makers, as well as Cerwyn for taking time to entertain us with this unique piece!
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am

Is it possible to build more then ship these to HK (i.e. possible UK export hassle)?

No problem for HK import I believe (as long as no "real steel" pressure bearing parts are used)...
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:48 pm

Hi smootik,

Thanks very much Very Happy I still think my review doesn't quite do the MP38 justice. Seeing this beauty in the flesh, feeling how solid it is especially when compared to my MGC68 MP40 is difficult to describe in writing. Where the MGC68's receiver tubes have a little wobble when assembled, the '38 locks together good and tight.
Built primarily for Blank Firing, but modified during the build to fire c.p. cartridges, it has all the strength of a Blank Firer.
It's a real beauty, Kickback and 8ace are to be congratulated on their talents making this model.
The standard of Modelgun quality has gone up a few notches now this MP38 is around Wink

Hi Jim,

I'm sure Kickback's mail Inbox is filling up with orders for his MP38 and MP40 replicas... Get in there quick Very Happy You'll be very happy with one or more of these to add to your collection

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also member of Living History Reenactment Groups.
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kagero43
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PostSubject: In Awe...   Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:11 pm

Thanks Cerwyn for such a comprehensive review. Interesting to note the detial differences. Would love to have SVT40 and SVT38 review Smile

I am in awe as to what you can get in UK!

Harvey (kagero43)
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kiwigunner
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:16 pm

Great review Cerwyn! 'Very Happy'
An awesome modelgun well worth the praise you and pride you have bestowed upon it.
Nice to see some British ingenuity at work in the Modelgun arena! 'cheers'
And great to read your research too!
Warms the "cockle of me heart!" on this cold wet wintery day in Auckland City!

Kiwigunner
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:43 pm

Video Part #1 added

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Cerwyn

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also member of Living History Reenactment Groups.
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c_alexandersen
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:53 am

[quote="Cerwyn"]Hi smootik,

Thanks very much Very Happy I still think my review doesn't quite do the MP38 justice. Seeing this beauty in the flesh, feeling how solid it is especially when compared to my MGC68 MP40 is difficult to describe in writing. Where the MGC68's receiver tubes have a little wobble when assembled, the '38 locks together good and tight.


I am absolutely sure it feels better than what you feel is in the pictures. BUT the review is absolutly great and offers plenty of info and inspiration

so many thanks for sharing
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Custom MP38   Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:56 am

Video Part 2 added :-



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